11 September 2008
OECD: Britain attracts second largest number of migrants in the world
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Britain is second only to the United States for attracting migrants to its country, reports the Telegraph. Figures show that one in ten migrants moving to an OECD member country chooses the UK as its final destination.
During 2006, 343,000 migrants applied for UK visas, while 1.3 million migrants chose America as their final destination. Germany welcomed 216,000 migrants in 2006, while Italy and Australia followed with 204,000 and 192,000 respectively over the same period.
Canada and New Zealand saw sharp increases in their immigration flows due to upgrading of their immigration systems and policy shifting. Japan, North Korea and Northern European countries were the only OECD countries to have a downward trend in immigration.
"Britain is an attractive destination for immigration - and many new arrivals bring benefits but we must have an annual limit that takes into account the impact on public services," said Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve.
The report from the OECD said governments encouraging highly skilled migration should remain open to allowing lower skilled migrants to live and work permanently in their countries. During 2006, four million migrants moved permanently into OECD countries while only 2.5 million temporary migrants were accepted.
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said, "Constructing a country's migration policy on the assumption that labour immigrants will only stay for a short time is not the way to go. It is neither efficient nor workable".
He added, a long-term need for lower skilled workers in the construction, home care, and food processing sectors will continue to remain an issue for OECD governments, particularly in the face of aging populations.
The UK Border Agency is mid-way through a massive immigration system upgrade including collecting biometric data from immigrants, creating ID cards for foreign nationals, upgrading technology for security checks at UK airports, and implementing a new Australian-style points-based system for applying for UK skilled migration visas.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.